Yash Chopra's Birthday: The man who taught us love in all its forms
It is safe to say, no other director has shaped filmmaking in Hindi cinema, as Chopra has done in his five-decade-long career, which augmented his 80 years of life.
Today marks the 90th birth anniversary of the King of Romance, and I don’t mean Shah Rukh Khan, rather I mean the man who made Khan, the King of Hearts that he is today. Long before, the actor grabbed the title, the honour belonged to one of the most influential filmmaker’s Hindi cinema had ever seen. He was in every manner, not just the King of Romance, but also a Kingmaker. Right from Amitabh Bachchan, to Shah Rukh Khan, the filmmaker has given the biggest superstars of today, their most monumental films, like Deewar and Darr, respectively.
If you haven’t already guessed, then let me just state the obvious – the man in question, is none other than Yash Chopra. It is safe to say, no other director has shaped filmmaking in Hindi cinema, as Chopra has done in his five-decade long career, that augmented his 80 years of life. Known as the face of romance, Chopra revolutionised the genre, unlike ever before, and created the ‘fomula’ that we’ve come to love, scorn, and miss over time, all in equal measure. To put it simply, he single-handedly skyrocketed the tourism of Swiss Alps, and made it a custom to lend larger-than-life stars, to rather real emotions, that are amplified with glamorous outfits, profound lyrics, and elaborate settings.
Even though, Chopra has done several non-romantic films in his extensive career, such as Deewar, Kaala Patthar, and Vijay, one does after all remember him, for the love be brought to celluloid as well as our lives, in the capacity of not only a director but also a producer. Out of the 22 films he directed, only 8 could be called full-fledeged romances, while the rest oscillated between the genres of action, drama, and thriller. Nevertheless, the image persists, and so does the notion, that no one can fabricate love on screen, like Yash Chopra does.
All that said, it might seem that the impression is a slanted stereotype, but it does amount to some truth, because in all honesty, Chopra has been a torchbearer in exploring the multiple dimensions of love and romance. It is this very truth, that ironically also makes it difficult for one to box him in the said stereotype, because despite having love at the core of many of his films, that give him this image, Chopra has never really conformed to any singular notion of love.
Through his films, he has ventured into talking about some of the most radical as well as contentious facets of human emotions, and love in particular. Be it incest in Lamhe, or bigamy in Daag, obession in Darr, or adultery in Silsila. Be it love that transcends borders in Veer Zaara, or the unrequited love in Dil Toh Pagal Hain, and Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Yash Chopra has introduced generations of viewers to the many forms of love.
To the ones who believed that love must contained and conformed, he taught that it knows no bounds, not of borders, religion, age, or class. To those who hopelessly search for their one, he taught that sometimes the one we love, doesn’t love us back, that sometimes we don’t end up with the one we love, but do love the one we end up with. To the ones who wander around wearing their rose-tinted glasses, he reminded that not all is mushy in the game of love, that sometimes love can be harmful. Alas, to those of us who frantically and even cynically swipe left and right, he gave the hope, that love will find us, and that it’s not all that bad that the world makes it out to be.
Love stories are to Bollywood, what songs are to Yash Chopra film – integral and eternal. As we celebrate Chopra’s 90th birth anniversary, we can remember him for many things, but what we shall remember him the most is how he taught us, that love truly transcends all.
Takshi Mehta is a freelance journalist and writer. She firmly believes that we are what we stand up for, and thus you’ll always find her wielding a pen.
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